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Showing posts with label Walking and Hiking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walking and Hiking. Show all posts

Gone Hiking and Fishing - The Niagara Escarpment

From June 26th to 30th I will be away on vacation - hiking, fishing and camping - and will not be answering emails very quickly during that time period.

The location I will be hiking will be along the Niagara Escarpment of Ontario, which has many cliffs, rocky outcroppings, waterfalls and other sights. Below is a map showing waterfalls that dot the landscape along the Niagara Escarpment.

One of my personal favourites to visit is Hilton Falls near Milton, Ontario - not because it is the closest to Toronto, but because you can walk both on top of the falls and also behind the waterfalls. To get to Hilton Falls it is a roughly 20 minute hike through the woods from the parking lot.

Walking along the top of the waterfalls, close to the edge

At the base of the waterfalls

Behind the waterfalls

There are many places within a quick drive from Toronto where people can go to exercise, go hiking, cycling, swimming and many other activities.

Get out there and exercise!

Walking to Fitness - Why many people ignore this as an option

Many people think they already walk quite a bit, but often they spend most of their days sitting in an office chair in a cubicle - or sitting on a chair or sofa at home.

In other words they really are not walking as much as they think they are.

Furthermore, when it comes to weight loss they ignore walking as an option because they don't realize how many calories the simple act of walking burns. They think it is such a tiny amount that they ignore it.

But I am going to show you the math behind how one woman in Iowa - who weighed 370 lbs when she started her walking regimen - lost 200 lbs just by walking around the airport terminal where she works. (You can Google the appropriate keywords to find this news story if you want to. The woman's name is Jill Vento.)

1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories.

200 lbs of fat = 700,000 calories.

Now you might think "Hey, that is going to require a lot of walking!"

But probably not as much as you think.

The woman in question did it by walking 15 minutes at a time (during breaks / etc), twice per day, 5 days per week. The news articles talking about her feat don't tell us how fast she was going, but we can assume as she got stronger and thinner she started walking faster.

Thus I have done the math for how many calories a 370 lb woman burns for 3 different speeds:

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 117 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 183 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 216 calories

In the beginning she was only shedding 117 calories each time, and in the beginning she was only doing it once per day. But as she got stronger / more motivated she started walking twice per day and eventually three times per day. So for simplicity's sake we shall calculate that she was doing 10 fifteen minute walks per week. 117 x 10 = 1170 calories. Slightly more than one third of a pound of fat.

At that speed it would have taken her 600 weeks (11.53 years) to burn 700,000 calories. And yes, that would be a lot of walking - were it not for the fact that she started walking faster, getting additional exercise, and eating healthier too, thus speeding up the weight loss process.

In the first 9 weeks of walking she would have noticed that she lost 3 lbs - possibly more if she was getting additional exercise from other sources and eating healthy - which would explain why she eventually started walking around the airport terminal 3 times per day to speed up the process.

Plus as she got stronger she started walking faster and faster. So now we have to do the math again.

At this point lets assume she has already lost 70 lbs and now weighs 300 lbs instead of 370 (which conversely means she only has 455,000 left to go). But we will calculate that she is walking 4 mph instead because she gotten a lot faster.

Walking 2 mph for 15 minutes - 95 calories
Walking 3 mph for 15 minutes - 148 calories
Walking 4 mph for 15 minutes - 176 calories

As you can see she is using less energy at the slower speed, and the 3 mph speed is only marginally using more energy. The 4 mph speed is where she really burning calories fast.

At this point we will also calculate that she is walking at this speed 15 times per week. 176 x 15 = 2,640 calories. That is 75% of 1 lb. So she is losing 3 lbs every 4 weeks at this point.

At this point she has really started to see the difference. She is having to buy new clothes that fit her better, she is feeling super positive about herself, she doesn't binge eat when she is depressed any more (this is a common problem for obese people who binge eat their favourite comfort foods). She is seeing lots of results. At that rate she is losing 39.2 lbs per year.

Probably more if she is getting outside and doing other activities simultaneously, trying new activities, taking up bicycling or swimming.

Walking may not seem like it burns a lot of calories, but you know how people like to say that cigarettes/pot are gateway drugs? Well walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

Walking is a gateway exercise that gets you exercising plus opens your body and mind to the idea of other exercises.

And the next thing you know, it is several years later, you've lost 200 lbs and you feel really proud of yourself. Losing 50 lbs per year means you can be a whole new person in just 4 years. And all it takes is the will to start walking.

A journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.

The Skinny on Walking your Way to Fitness

Can you do math?

Or even if you cannot, can you use a calculator?

What if I told you that you can lose weight simply by walking for so many minutes per day, every day, and that all you need is a calculator to figure out how much walking you need to do?

The beauty of this is walking is easy. Anyone with two working legs can lose weight through walking. Even if you have minor joint pain in your knees or ankles walking is likely your best solution for weight loss.

It is a common problem that many people who experience joint pain or pain in their legs to have difficulty doing harder cardio exercises like jogging, running, many kinds of sports. But walking can be a great solution for people who have minor joint pain and can still walk without any discomfort.

And you will be surprised how much weight a person can lose simply by walking 4 miles per day every day.

So how do you do this?


Google the words calorie calculator walking and then check out the wide variety of websites with free calculators which help you to calculate how many calories you can burn during a specific number of minutes of walking, with varying degrees of speed.


Fill out the fields in the calorie calculator and the amount of time you want to spend walking each day.

eg. Lets say you weigh 300 lbs currently and you want to walk for 60 minutes every day.

Note: It may give you multiple different speed options, such as 2 mph, 3 mph, or 4 mph. Any faster than those and you are jogging.


Press the calculate button on the page and find out how many calories you would burn.

eg. A 300 lb person would burn 378 calories walking at 2 mph, 594 calories walking at 3 mph or 702 calories walking at 4 mph.


Find a walking trail or route that you can walk near your home that is 2, 3 or 4 miles long.


Once you know how far you want to walk and the time you are willing to dedicate towards walking each day now you need to determine how many days you need to walk to burn the desired number of calories.

So for example if you want to lose 100 lbs of fat, you will need to burn 350,000 calories. (1 lb of fat is 3,500 calories.)

If you do the math that means that a 300 lb person who wants to lose 100 lbs of fat, they need to walk 4 miles every day for 500 days. (They will also want to eat more healthy during this time period too, drink more water and less soda, more whole grains, more vegetables, and more lean meat.)

I call it the "500 Day Road To Weight Loss"!

So yes, it would take 1.4 years to do, but it would be a life changing experience and isn't that what many people want? To change their life around and do something that changes their life for the better?


#1. Leave your watch behind. It is better if you lose track of time because you will burn more calories.

#2. Take your dog with you. They love the exercise anyway!

#3. Take your camera with you. More fun for you and extra weight to carry!

#4. Wear comfortable walking shoes.

#5. If hiking wear hiking boots instead for better grip, comfort and safety.

#6. Bring water with you.

#7. Bring a healthy snack with you, like an apple or grapes.

#8. Dress for the weather. eg. Bring a scarf, gloves and hat if it is cold out.

#9. If you don't encounter joint problems try walking a bit faster for fun.

#10. Pump your arms as you walk, the increased cardio movement burns calories more and keeps you warmer while you walk.

#11. Go on longer strolls / hikes whenever you go on vacation, to ravines, parks, urban hikes and discover parts of Toronto you have never been to.

#12. Bring a friend!

#13. Join a group of people that go on hikes regularly.

#14. Run errands on foot, such as walking to the post office or to the grocery store for small items.

#15. Take an umbrella if it is raining or try walking at home on a treadmill while watching TV.

#16. Take to the hills, an incline burns more calories faster because your legs are lifting you more.

#17. Get a walking pedometer that tells you how far you have walked. Use it to set goals for yourself.

#18. Use the time to think about what you want to do later, in your life, phone loved ones on your cellphone, listen to an audiobook or music.

#19. Practice good posture with your back as you walk. Don't slouch! Good posture is good for your back and prevents back pain, which can be a nuisance as you get older.

#20. Jump over puddles along the way. Makes it more fun!

8 Ways to Lose Weight using Photography

#1. Take your heaviest camera.

Whenever you go for a walk take the biggest / heaviest camera one you own. Take your camera and go for an hour long walk at least twice per week.

If a 160 lb person walks 5 km in 60 minutes while carrying a camera they will burn approx. 300 calories.

Depending on how much you weigh and how far you walk you could burn a lot more. The same person walking 7 km in 60 minutes will burn approx. 460 calories because they were practically jogging in order to cover the extra distance in the same amount of time.

For added weight take your tripod and any other equipment you fancy with you. Even if you don't use it you are burning extra calories by carrying the extra weight with you.

#2. Take a backpack with water with you.

Three reasons. A. Because you can drink the water. B. Because the water and backpack provides extra weight for you to carry, which means you burn more calories. C. Because when bored you can take a photograph of your water bottle for fun in different locations.

Below: Still Life of Water Bottle #32 ; Still Life of Water Bottle #45.

#3. When on vacation explore as much as you can.

The more distance you travel, the more interesting photographs you get, the more calories you burn, the more fun you have. Easy!

#4. Take long walks along the beach.

The further the better. And the more distance you cover the more photographs you will get. And who would ever get bored of walking along the beach???

#5. Take photos of yourself in reflections while walking.

Sort of like before and after photos, but these will be photos along the way. If you look to photograph yourself in your reflection every time you go for a long walk - and you walk at least twice per week, then in a year you will have over 104 photos of yourself - and you will have burned approx 9 lbs of fat without even trying. It is possible you've burned way more than that due to increased physical activity and heightened metabolism. But what will be interesting is that you will have a photographic record of your gradual weight loss. And that is a happy thing by itself.

#6. Take your umbrella when it is raining.

Don't let rain stop you from taking your walks and taking photographs in the rain. Get a nice sturdy umbrella, the heavier the better because that burns more calories, and use that while doing photography in the rain. The rain will provide you with lots of things to photograph.

#7. Use other modes of transportation.

Cycling, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing in the winter. There are lots of other ways to exercise and take your camera with you. No shortage of stuff to do and things to photograph.

#8. Don't be afraid to experiment.

I am not talking about just exercise wise or photography wise. I mean experiment with both. Try new things. Take up new sports and take your camera with you during that new sport. (If you take up scuba diving get yourself a waterproof camera designed for shooting underwater.)


Going for walks and taking your digital camera with you is a very frugal way to get exercise. You can do it as an hobby, while on vacation, while with friends, while visiting relatives. No excuses not to do it.

Just take your camera and go!

The Benefits of Marching or Speed Walking

The Benefits of Marching or Speed Walking

#1. Burn more calories in less time.

#2. Activate muscles you use less often.

#3. Easy to do and build endurance.

#4. Builds speed and endurance significantly faster than walking.

#5. You can take your dog with you during your march / speed-walk.

#6. Hiking trips and hill climbs will feel a lot easier than they used to.

#7. Your endurance during other activities will be boosted.

#8. You don't need to dress up as much for a march or speed-walk. Just grab your shoes and go.
Comfortable walking shoes are best. You don't need special running shoes or hiking boots.

#9. You won't feel out of breathe - and you can carry on a conversation while walking.

#10. For extra fun try singing military marching songs.

I don't know what I've been told.
Marching in the winter isn't that cold.

Swagger while you Walk

An 150 lb person walking on level ground, at a slow pace of less than 2 mph burns 136 calories per hour.

However if they swagger while they walk (swinging their arms a lot more, moving their sides and shoulders with their arms in a macho swagger) they will burn 150 calories per hour.

The reason is because swaggering engages the obliques side muscles as you twist your body every step you take. It is a small twist, but it shifts the weight of your upper torso on a constant basis - and thus counts in a small way as resistance training, as the obliques are effectively being used to twist the weight of the upper torso.

A person who walks with a swagger 2 hours per day will burn 10,199 extra calories per year compared to a person who doesn't who doesn't swagger.

That is a difference of roughly 2.9 lbs of fat per year.

Over a 10 year period a person who constantly walks with a "confident swagger" in theory, assuming two hours of "swaggering" per day, will be roughly 29 lbs of fat lighter than a person who doesn't swagger at all.

And they would have stronger obliques, and to a lesser extent stronger abs, shoulders and arm muscles.

The big thing really is whether a person can use those oblique muscles while they walk and get used to having a constant swagger. In the beginning it would be difficult to walk like that all the time (because your obliques would get sore), but after a week or two of walking like that regularly your oblique muscles would grow stronger and your body would become more accustomed to it. So yes, with regular practice a person could develop a constant swagger.

I will note however that deliberately swaggering while you walk at first feels a bit silly. (And you might wonder if other people are watching you and thinking if you are doing that on purpose or if you really do walk around like you own the place.)

Honestly, who cares? It is your body! If you want to lose fat, grow stronger obliques over a longer term period, then absolutely go ahead and do this as an exercise. Another side benefit to obliques is that they improve your balance and flexibility. Useful for many activities.

The end result is that you gain a lot of physical benefits from swaggering - and losing weight and becoming stronger, you will likely feel more confident and feel like swaggering anyway.

How to Walk Yourself Fit

Walking burns a good chunk of calories. Indeed a 1 hour walk in hilly terrain will burn approx. 350 calories depending on your weight. Do that every day for a year and you've lost about 40 lbs of fat.

Some people struggle to find an exercise that they enjoy, or if they’re not fit enough to try a more strenuous activity like jogging or running because it hurts their knees. Walking is the perfect solution for people who want to improve they're fitness without the added stress on their joints. Many people write off walking as a daily task that everyone does anyway rather than as a fitness activity, those people who walk regularly have been scientifically shown to have lowered chances of developing certain illnesses, including diabetes and many different kinds of cancer.

So how do you make sure you walk more often?

#1. Take a Camera with you!

Having something fun to do while walking, such as a crossword puzzle, listening to music, doing photography, gives you a reason to go walking more often. You forget your goal is exercise and instead you may even lose track of time and your hour long daily walk may turn into 90 to 120 minute forays into wilderness photography.

And take the dog with you!

#2. Switch Car Journeys for Walking

How often do you drive somewhere when its only a 5, 10 or 20 minute walk away? It could be 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back, and you've just got your 1 hour of walking done.

If you do not have much spare time in your life right now, you can easily increase your walking by taking journeys on foot rather than using your car. There are many people who drive for journeys which would take no more than ten minutes to walk, and if this sounds like you then you could make the most of these chances to start walking. You should always ensure that you’re walking at a pace that allows you to talk but wouldn’t allow you to sing.

#3. Buy a Pedometer

As a general rule, you should try to take 10,000 steps per day. To measure these, you can purchase a pedometer for $5 to $10, which you can attach to your belt or waistband. These steps are not made up from your scheduled walks alone; they include all of the steps that you take during the day. If you have a busy job that keeps you on your feet daily, you may find that it is easier to get to this number than you might have thought.

#4. Make Waking Your Routine

If you have the time, you should try to include scheduled walks into your lifestyle at least once each week. Soon, you should find that you are able to notice an improvement in your general health and fitness. Walking is one of the most effective exercises possible, because you can walk for a long time before having to stop, so it doesn't require much endurance at all. So don’t make any excuses, and simply start walking!

#5. Make Sure That You Have The Right Shoes

If you become a serious walker you should ensure that you have a good pair of shoes. If you wish to walk in the countryside, you may find that walking boots or hiking boots are a good investment, however for the average person simply walking through the streets a pair of trainers will probably suffice. You can visit a specilaist walking or running shop to be professionally fitted for walking or running shoes. With regards to what else you should wear whilst walking, it is best to wear several thin layers rather than just one thicker one, as this means that you’re able to remove them if you get too hot. You should also wear comfortable trousers that are not too tight.

#6. Take a Backpack!

Looking for an added challenge when you go hiking? Take a backpack and load it up with water and healthy snacks. Even if you don't eat it all the extra weight works a bit like weightlifting over a long journey.

Imagine if you were a commando during WWII, carrying a 60 lb backpack across rugged terrain for 10+ miles at a time. That is some serious marching! Don't believe me? Watch the documentary film "The Greatest Raid of All Time" produced by the BBC.

I know its off topic, but its a really good film.

Walking Burns more Calories than you think

It might surprise you but the simple act of walking daily burns quite a few calories.
Exercise & Calories Burned per Hour
130 lbs
155 lbs
180 lbs
205 lbs
Walking 2.0 mph, slow
Walking 2.5 mph
Walking 3.0 mph, moderate
Walking 3.5 mph, brisk pace
Walking 3.5 mph, uphill
Walking 4.0 mph, very brisk
Walking 4.5 mph
Walking 5.0 mph

However it is very silly when you realize that most people don't think of walking as a good exercise. Mostly I think because its not as quick as jogging or running, but if you read the chart above you will see that if you just walk briskly or almost jogging then you can burn quite a few calories in a single hour.

Part of the problem is that people do it everyday and it seems so easy... But for those of you looking to get the most out of your walks here are tips to step up your walk to make it a highly beneficial cardiovascular exercise:

1. Walk Faster

It seems like a no brainer but a fast walk really makes a difference. You're walking fast enough when the breath increases and the heart rate is elevated. You should feel like you're exercising!

2. Move your arms / Power Walking

Those speed walkers are not just swinging their arms to look determined. Pumping the arms brings more blood to the heart and therefore, offers more cardiovascular benefits.

3. Do Intervals

Just like a run. Speed walk super fast for a couple of minutes and then do a minute at a less intense pace for recovery. Here is a sample timing:

Fast Walk 4 minutes, Slower Walk 2 minutes. Repeat 10 times for 1 hour.

4. Walk Often

One or two walks a week is better than nothing but for results aim for 4 to 5 one-hour walks per week.

5. Eat like any other activity

Walking requires fuel. Eat a good meal before and take in food for recovery afterward.

6. Get a Walking Stick for Hiking

If hiking in the woods get a walking stick so that you are moving your arms more while you walk. It will also benefit your back and core muscles.

Follow these tips and pump of your walking regimen for a non-impact, healthy and result-promoting exercise.

The Benefits of Walking Sticks

Walking sticks are common walking companions to people of all shapes, ages and sizes, regardless of the type of walking, hiking or the weather. Anything from a simple afternoon stroll to a rigorous multi-day hike through the woods of northern Ontario can be aided by a walking stick. Walking sticks can range from a simple stick made from a tree branch you randomly pick up to specialized, ergonomic sticks purchased at high prices from outdoor-gear stores.

Regardless of the type of walking stick you use, there are several ways they can help you.

#1. History and Function

Walking sticks (also called hiking poles) are common in Europe, especially in Switzerland and Austria, where you'll often see older adults moving briskly over alpine hillsides, walking sticks firmly in hand. Historically they date back to the earliest hominids, and even some modern apes use sticks both for walking, but also as tools and weapons.

Walking sticks are now catching on in North America, too, as they are quite useful and provide more of a workout than you would get otherwise. The sticks help to support your knees and back when you're hiking or walking. If you have joint or knee problems, walking sticks can help by distributing your weight more evenly and giving you more stability. They also make uphill climbs easier and improve your hiking form by helping to keep your momentum forward, with your chest and arms out in front. You'll burn 20 to 25% more calories per walk as a result of putting your upper body muscles to work with the use of a stick.

#2. Improved Upper-Body Workout

Using a walking stick requires lifting the stick, placing it ahead of you and helping support your body's weight with your arms as you move. Over the course of a long walk, this can be a good workout for your arms and shoulders, helping you burn more calories as you exercise. You shouldn't find yourself exhausted while using a walking stick, but the Mayo Clinic says the stick will increase the intensity of your workout.

For increased intensity you can even get a heavier walking stick, something with a bit more heft (almost like a caveman's club). Don't forget to switch arms regularly.

#3. Back and Joint Health

Walking sticks help redistribute your body's weight. Instead of all your weight coming down on your back, hips and knees, a walking stick displaces some of your weight from your back and lower body and supports it through your arms and the stick itself. This can reduce wear and tear on your joints and muscles, which can help people with arthritis or back problems. Walking poles also foster proper posture as you use them, particularly in your upper back. Proper posture helps distribute weight evenly and safely, reducing your risk of injury and improving your back health.

#4. Improved Stability and Balance

When you walk over trails or other uneven surfaces, various obstacles or objects can make it difficult to maintain your balance, such as when you are going uphill, walking on soft or loose dirt, or stepping on rocks as you walk. Walking sticks help stabilize your body and reduce your risk of falling or slipping. The sticks also assist on hills by providing stability, especially as walkers become fatigued and their muscle strength and stability becomes less reliable.

#5. Could walking poles help me get more out of my daily walk?

Answer from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

Walking poles work your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back muscles through a functional range of motion as you walk — which can help you turn your daily walk into a full-body workout. This activity is sometimes called Nordic Walking.

Most walking poles have rubber tips that grab the pavement and wrist straps that secure the poles to your arms. With one walking pole in each hand, you grip the handles and push off with each stride. Sturdier walking poles designed for hiking are known as hiking or trekking poles.

Consider the benefits of walking poles:
  1. The arm movement associated with walking poles adds intensity to your aerobic workout, which helps you burn more calories.
  2. Walking poles improve balance and stability.
  3. Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles.
  4. Walking poles take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems.
Walking poles in various fixed or adjustable lengths are available online and in many sporting goods stores.

#6. Which is better? Two walking sticks or One?

Should you use two walking sticks, or just one?. It boils down to what is your personal preference.

Or more specifically, what feels right for you when walking on the trail.

Theoretically, two poles was the best thing to do because it will provide the best workout. But if it doesn't feel right for you then don't worry about it. You're still getting more of a workout by having one walking stick and switching arms regularly so the workout is evenly distributed. For some people two poles just doesn't feel right. You feel unbalanced and/or can't get a good rhythm.

Not everyone will have the same problems with two walking sticks, so it doesn't hurt to try and just see how well it works. You might even try using only one aluminum pole and one wooden staff, when (non-snow) trekking or hiking. See whether you prefer wood or aluminum, one stick or two, both aluminum and wood at the same time.

As long as the end result is the same (extra exercise, better posture, less backpain) then you're succeeded.

Experiment. Do what's comfortable.
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